The summer of 2019 was unusually sunny in Reykjavík. So instead of travelling around Iceland like I usually do, I only made one trip up north and stayed in Reykjavík to enjoy the sunshine.
I checked out what my city Reykjavík had to offer in terms of guided tours.
The oldest house in Reykjavík is in Aðalstræti, not counting the one on Viðey island
I was intrigued by the name of one tour I found - the Icelandic Mythical Walk | Trolls, Elves & Hidden People. As you, who read my travel-blog, know then I have dedicated many travel-blogs to the mythical beings of Iceland, and I seek out the locations of elves, trolls and mythical beings on my travels in my country to show to you.
The inscription of one of the high seat pillars at Ingólfstorg square in the old centre of Reykjavík from where the tour started
There are very many such locations and Iceland is filled with mythical beings. Here are a couple of travel-blogs, which I have written about the mythical beings of Iceland:
I joined the mythical beings tour to check it out and to introduce to you one of the walking tours in Reykjavík. We met our guide on Ingólfstorg square by the high seat pillars which were erected in the remembrance of the first settler of Reykjavík, Ingólfur Arnarson.
See my travel-blog about the settler Ingólfur Arnarson: The Viking Settler Ingólfur Arnarson, Mt. Ingólfsfjall and Ingólfsskáli Turf Longhouse in South-Iceland.
Inside the Settlement Exhibition in Aðalstræti
This is the oldest part of Reykjavík and in Aðalstræti street, the oldest street in Reykjavík, you can check out the ruins of what we like to think is the old longhouse of Ingólfur Arnarson.
These ruins were discovered by chance when a hotel was being built in our oldest street. A museum, the Settlement Exhibition, was built around the ruins and the hotel was built on top of the museum.
Our first stop was opposite the museum, in the oldest cemetery of Reykjavík, Víkurkirkjugarður cemetery, where around 30 generations of Reykvíkingar, the locals of Reykjavík, were buried. The cemetery was in use until 1838 when Hólavallakirkjugarður in the vicinity was taken into use. We also visited Hólavallakirkjugarður on the mythical tour.
In the oldest cemetery of Reykjavík, our guide told us about the Icelandic zombies and how to awaken them from death! Víkurkirkjugarður cemetery has been in the news a lot for the past few years as a hotel is being built on the east side of the cemetery.
Many of us locals want to preserve this oldest cemetery in Iceland's capital city, I included.
At Galdrasafnið in Hólmavík - the Museum of Icelandic Witchcraft and Sorcery with the late sorcerer Sigurður Atlason
I have told you about the Icelandic zombies in my travel-blog about The Museum of Icelandic Witchcraft and Sorcery at Hólmavík in the Westfjords of Iceland where you can see me lying on the floor with the zombie and the sorcerer.
You can see another well-known "item" above my head; the infamous necropants, but the story of the necropants was also included in the mythical tour.
The Elf-rock in Grjótaþorp
By now it was time to visit the oldest part of Reykjavík, Grjótaþorpið or the Rock Village, and have a peek at the home of the Icelandic elves. I have dedicated so many of my travel-blogs to the elf spots around Iceland, but you don't have to travel far to encounter such spots:
Grásteinn Rock in Reykjavík - is this Rock the Home of the Elves? and many more stories from Hafnarfjörður town in the Greater-Reykjavík area and all around Iceland, f.ex. the market town of the Elves in the Westfjords of Iceland and the elf-rock in East-Iceland:
The beautiful Grjótaþorp in the oldest part of Reykjavík
The inhabitants of Grjótaþorp weren't too happy with having guided tours in their backyard, so the guide told us the elf-rock story in front of the Canadian embassy a couple of minutes away from the Grjótaþorp village in Túngata street.
That street is often called Embassy Street as here you will find many foreign embassies.
The Catholic Cathedral of Reykjavík
Our next stop was by the Catholic Cathedral of Reykjavík where our guide told us another story, I must confess that I have forgotten which story he told us where, as he told us so many stories ;) But I can tell you that you are in for a treat on the Icelandic Mythical Walk | Trolls, Elves & Hidden People as you will hear so many interesting stories from Icelandic folklore.
We also stopped in Garðarstræti street, by the very house where my grandparents lived for many years. So joining this tour is a great opportunity to see the backstreets of Reykjavík joined with hearing about the mythical creatures of Iceland.
On the next corner of Garðastræti opposite Hólavallakirkjugarður cemetery, the guide told us all about Grýla and Leppalúði and their offsprings; the mischievous Icelandic Yule Lads.
If you want to get acquainted with them before joining this tour and see what they are believed to look like, then you can have a look at my travel-blog:
Grýla and Leppalúði in Akureyri town up north
And if you want to see where the Yule Lads live for the rest of the year when they are not visiting Reykjavík in December then you can see their cave in Mývatn up north in my travel-blog:
It was now time to enter Hólavallakirkjugarður cemetery and hear the most infamous ghost story in Iceland, Djákninn á Myrká - the Deacon of Dark River. It is a ghost story about a deacon up in North-Iceland who visited his girlfriend after his death and tried to drag her down into his grave!
This ghost-story still gives me the chills every time I hear it. I have written a travel-blog about the Deacon of Dark River with photos I took of his grave up north:
Listening to the ghost story in Hólavallakirkjugarður
Hólavallakirkjugarður was taken into use as the Reykjavík cemetery in 1838 and my family has a plot in this cemetery, where most of my mother's ancestors are buried, my grandparents, and my father. So I visit this cemetery every time I go down-town and it is very dear to me.
You can visit this cemetery and have a look around. Many well-known people from Reykjavík's history are buried here and there are information signs you can follow. Just let's always remember to respect those who are visiting the graves of their loved ones. I have had my picture taken by tourists while visiting my father's grave :(
We now returned back to the old centre of Reykjavík via Suðurgata street, which lies parallel to Reykjavík pond. It was a beautiful sunny day, like so many last summer in Reykjavík. Reykjavík looked so beautiful in the sunshine, that I was taking photos left and right.
Our guide stopped by Ráðhúsið í Reykjavík - Reykjavík's City Hall and told us the story about another mythical creature; the Lagarfljótsormurinn Serpent in East-Iceland, Iceland's Loch Ness.
By City Hall in Reykjavík the guide told us the story about the mythical creature the Lagarfljótsormurinn Serpent
I have told you about this mythical creature in my travel-blog Lagarfljótsormurinn Serpent in Lagarfljót Lake in East-Iceland - Iceland's Loch Ness if you want to see photos of the river in East-Iceland where it has been spotted.
Alþingisgarðurinn - the Parliament Park and Parliament Building
We crossed the street from City Hall and just a stone throw away in Alþingisgarðurinn park, we heard the story of the infamous necropants, which is one of the most disgusting stories I know from my country.
You can visit The Museum of Icelandic Witchcraft and Sorcery at Hólmavík in the Westfjords of Iceland and see a replica of the necropants.
It is the same museum in the Strandir area of the Westfjords where you can encounter the Icelandic zombie, which the guide mentioned in Víkurkirkjugarður cemetery.
The Lutheran Cathedral and the Parliament building
We listened to the last story in Austurvöllur park overlooking Alþingishúsið - the Parliament of Iceland - and Dómkirkjan in Reykjavík, the Lutheran Cathedral.
Our guide told us to have a look at the windows of the Parliament building where you can find 4 low-reliefs of the Land Guardians of Iceland.
The Eagle protects North-Iceland
The Land Guardians of Iceland protect our country and are depicted in Iceland's Coat of Armour.
Protecting East-Iceland is the Dragon, in North-Iceland you will find the Eagle, protecting West-Iceland is the Bull and the Giant protects South-Iceland.
This is a highly recommended and entertaining tour if you want to see old Reykjavík and hear about the mythical creatures of Iceland. Check it out here Icelandic Mythical Walk | Trolls, Elves & Hidden People.
Have a lovely time in Reykjavík :)